danielzapatav

Creating a Musical Structure and Demo song in simple programs like Garageband or Logic

So you have your song you really believe in and you are ready to get your hands dirty, well cool because now comes the work of making the initial sketch for your song.

If you are an artist I always suggest less is more, you can record a one instrument with just your voice version of your song to pass it to a producer In a very simple format like Garageband

All you have to do is install the program (how to install and most basic setups can be found on YouTube or Google just type in “how to…” or “Tutorial “), choose, “New project” and have one track for the vocal part and one for your basic instrument which may be a guitar or piano. That’s one track for each element, If you are going to play a guitar there are many YouTube videos on “Tutorial how to record a live instrument on Garageband” and all the technical aspects are on YouTube so I will not dive into that part, and this goes for guitar recording or vocal recording.

What I will mention is that to record the first version of your song there are some things you have to have clear by now like

What is the beat or tempo of your song? If you are making a regueton song or a balad, by now you should know more or lees the tempo of the song , if its 80 bpm 120 bpm, this is important because the click and metronome of the song will mark the speed depending on the tempo you have chosen.

If there is one thing that is important is to always record with a metronome or click, this will save you a lot of future headaches, trust me.

Another thing that is important and that you should know is if your song is in 4/4 or 12/8 or 3/4, even if most commercial songs are in 4/4 you have to know this for your song because this will allow you to go to one part of the song to the next in a easier manner, most songs in 4/4 follow cycles of 4 or 8 counts for every section in their structure, E.g.; 4 counts for the intro, 8 counts for the verse, 8 for the pre chorus, 16 counts for the chorus, etc. And this is where it will be easy to adjust if you did the step of structuring your song correctly, which we discussed in the songwriting step.

If you are going to play the main instrument for the demo as a piano, you will need to have a MIDI controller surface, these Midi controllers are very useful and can be found cheap and I recommend every artist has one, for demoing songs even a small one like the Korg Controller,

Garageband

Another thing that is ideal to have (other than your laptop) is a good sound card and a good mic to record your vocals. Hey if you want to be an artist you have to invest a little in your craft, and having the basic elements to lay down demos of your songs is the least you can have at home. And not to mention having this at home will save you time and studio hours which can be expensive.

But I am not saying you have to invest a million bucks, maybe the biggest investment would be the mic because obviously you want your voice to sound nice. I recommend the TLM 103 because it is very faithful to sound and it will do its job pretty well for most recordings.

Once you have the program set up, with your tempo, all you need to do is put on your headphones and first play and record the entire song with the instrument (piano or guitar). If you messes up don’t worry you can always punch in the recording and continue closest to where you made a mistake, (Tutorials of how to punch in a recording in garage band are also available on YouTube)

The next step would be to sing and record your voice, there are many ways to do this, you can sing first the verses and when you are warmed up you can do the chorus which has the high notes, or you can just go ahead and sing the whole thing but if you do sing the whole track, go back to it listen and punch in and record again the weaker parts. You want to have a good vocal performance on this track because it will be what the producer will hear and the musicians that are going to record in your song and its better not to accustom your ear to a mediocre sound.

So by this point you have a two-track song with an instrument and a voice and if your song was the strong selection you thought you made, by now it should have gone a notch up.

If you did a good job the parts of the song we mentioned should be clear: intro, verses, pre chorus, chorus, outro’s , bridge, and your song should have a structure that flows in a familiar way ( you’ve listened to music, if something sounds weird, fix it, it probably is weird)

The next part of the process is, based on where you are going musically with your song to select the right instruments to accompany the vocals.

Do not hesitate to leave a comment I would love hearing and answering any question.

All the best !

Daniel

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